Brussels will spend €5.8 million – with €4.7 million coming from EU funds – to encourage the purchase and use of cargo bikes in the Belgian capital for both goods and passengers. This is one of 11 new Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) projects where cities around Europe are receiving EU support to tackle challenges associated with demographic change and air quality, or to promote cultural heritage and the circular economy.
Goods are primarily delivered by vans and trucks, which add to pollution, congestion and noise. Between 2015 and 2019 the registration of vans under 3.5 tonnes increased by 33%, with over 81,000 vehicles currently registered. Even though these vans only account for 7% of the traffic, they produce 18% of the pollution.
The new CAIRGO BIKE project aims to relieve the growing pressure on deliveries with a more environmentally-friendly solution. Elke Van den Brandt, Transport Minister of Brussels-Capital Region, believes that cargo bikes can be used for the majority of deliveries in the city and for 75% of family travel.
Brussels Capital Region will create parking spaces for cargo bikes on roads and in public car parks that are managed by Parking Brussels, as well as in private car parks managed by BePark. Another project partner, Remorquable ASBL, will raise awareness by addressing 60 small and large companies on the advantage of cargo bikes.
Another project partner, the cargo bike logistics company Urbike, was overwhelmed with requests from businesses and municipalities during lockdown. A recent survey from the CityChangerCargoBike project concluded that there was a 60% increase in cargo bike sales in 2019 and an increase of 53% is expected in 2020. In 2019, 4% of all bicycles in Brussels were cargo bikes. In order to help keep these numbers up, the non-profit project partner ProVélo is enabling group discounts on cargo bikes.
Outside of the project, the car sharing company Cambio has also confirmed that it will be adding cargo bikes to its Brussels fleet in 2021.
Original article first published 10 July 2020 by Le Soir
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